I met Jeff January 28th on his 31st birthday on the Withlacoochee Bike Trail, five and a half miles west of where the trail passes through the sweet village of Floral City, Florida.
The bike trail is also part of the Florida Trail, a 1400-mile footpath from Big Cypress National Preserve near Miami to Pensacola Beach. After hiking the length of the Florida Trail, Jeff plans to trudge north to the 335-mile Pinhoti Trail, which runs into Alabama and eastward through Georgia. There to pick up the 2184-mle Appalachian Trail to its northern terminus at Mount Katahdin, Maine.
Jeff was working on a fishing boat in southern California when one of his mates mentioned the Pacific Crest Trail, the 2663-mile trail that runs between the borders of Canada and Mexico, atop the spine of the mountains of Washington, Oregon, and California. Jeff did the PCT and followed up by doing the 3100-mile Continental Divide trail.
Completing these lengthy trails in a single trip is known as thru-hiking. Completing these three trails a thru-hiker achieves the Triple Crown of Hiking.
A former Navy corpsman, Jeff is a man of his time. He carries an iPod for his tunes and to record his thoughts, and an iPad to connect to the Internet when he can access WiFi. I can’t help but chuckle when I repeat that sentence to myself. What alien language that would have been on my 31st birthday.
So that’s Jeff’s story. What are you doing on your summer vacation?
*NB. Most lengthy trails are not continuous but consist of many disconnected trails and their spurs. Trail lengths mentioned above are from Internet research. Rarely does a hiker do every mile of every trail. However, hikers often walk dozens of road miles to get back onto a trail that petered out.